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Salvation for OT Saints

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I'm sure this has been discussed lots of times, and there's lots of potential answers out there. But I haven't come to a decision in my mind.

This question is about salvation for Old Testament saints like Moses, Abraham, Job, Elijah, etc. 

These are people who are either said to be in heaven in the NT, or presumably are, but would not have known Christ. But are presumed still been saved by Christ.

How would they have found salvation in this case? 


James 2: 23

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend.

Matthew 8:11

 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.



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In a cliche phrase: Grace Through Faith. Just as it always has been. Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.


But that's just me. I'm sure there are other logical explanations.

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I don't think that OT saints were "saved" in their time in the same sense that we are post-Resurrection. I think their justification was provisional, their sanctification was stunted, they lacked the power of the Spirit, they were not actually regenerated, and they did not truly go to "heaven" after death (not saying they went to Hell, though). The New Testament seems to treat all of these things as changing drastically with Christ.

Take regeneration (the new birth), for example. Scripture seems pretty clear that it was new to the world with Christ (specifically His resurrection). 1 Peter 1:3 is the most explicit: "Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. " Likewise, Titus puts the new birth after Christ's coming into the world: "But when the goodness of God and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us...through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. " The new birth/regeneration is nothing other than new creation, a creation which began with Christ's resurrection, enters our lives at our baptisms (1 Pet. 3:21, cf. 2 Cor. 5:17), and will be consummated at the resurrection of all things at the end of the age (Matt. 19:28).

So at least that much was different. This is also directly related to the role of the Spirit, who had not yet been given before Christ was glorified (John 7:39). Rather, He was a limited gift until Pentecost, at which He point was poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:16-17). This also is why the sanctification of the OT saints seems to have been so stunted. Without the power of the Spirit, it was much more difficult to live according to faith rather than the flesh. This was Israel's struggle under the Torah, which attempted to teach them how to live godly lives even while under flesh but ultimately could not succeed (Rom. 7:7-23, Gal. 3:19-4:5).

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